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History 3373: World War One

Finding the Scholarly Conversation: Seed Documents & Key Research

Look for seed documents: 

Find the most recently scholarly works on your topic, look closely at the bibliography for relevant texts.

Skim major reference works: Note titles and authors in recommended reading lists and bibliographies found in major reference books:

Triangulate between search tools for key scholars: Search for your topic in a variety of different locations, e.g. LibrarySearch, Google Scholar, America History & Life etc., making note of the authors whose names appear in each tool.

Use Google Scholar to Cross-reference Titles: Take the list of titles you have accumulated and look for them in Google Scholar to see who has cited them; make particular note of the ones with high citation counts.

Scholarly Secondary Sources for History

Recognizing scholarly sources for History & using MRU LibrarySearch to find them

Skip straight to finding books and artricles using MRU LibrarySearch at 3:33 min.


Use the MRU LibrarySearch tool - the search box on the library homepage to find at books and journal articles on your topic. 

Try limiting searches by:

  • using the sidebar options (e.g. limit results to only relevant subjects, or to preferred resource type, e.g., books)
  • using the advanced search to search for important terms in the subject or title fields on the drop-down menus.
  • refining results to only peer-reviewed sources (searches only within scholarly journals)
  • to find edited collections, try adding the term editor to your search
  • Sign in for enhanced results, to save "pinned" favourites lists and search queries.

Find Journal Articles in a History Specific Article Database

Using a history-specific database can save time by returning more relevant resources faster than in LibrarySearch. Thorough research in a history paper should include one the databases listed below. Note that if your topic crosses geographical regions, you can do a combined search in BOTH databases by selecting the "choose databases" option from within either database.

Use one of history-specific journal article databases on the ARTICLES tab of this guide. Recommended databases:

  • Historical Abstracts (for non-North American topics)
  • America History and Life (for American AND Canadian topics)​


How to use Historical Abstracts - University of Guelph video 2:07 min. You can apply all the advice given to both Historical Abstracts (world history) and America History & Life (Canadian and US history), since they function identically but search different content.

Discover Items Beyond MRU

  • Check Google Scholar - make sure to go to the Settings and add Mount Royal University to the Library Links.
  • Request items not owned by MRU via interlibrary loan.

Search Vocabulary for War Research

Using effective search terms is an important part of finding relevant sources.

  • Avoid using slang terms or abbreviations, e.g., WWI
  • Experiment with various terms, e.g., World War One, First World War, World War I
  • Libraries in North America use a pre-determined list of subject tags or headings to describe the items they own. The subject heading libraries use to describe the First World War is World War 1914 - 1918
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Alice Swabey
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